A+D adds media with MW360 purchase

Arrivals + Departures has acquired the independent media agency MW360 Media, joining a growing list of creative shops that have added or grown their media capabilities in recent years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal aligns with the agency’s objective to broaden its service offering, said A+D partner, chief financial officer and chief operating officer Daniel Tolensky. The acquisition boosts the agency’s head count from just under 50 pre-pandemic, to more than 80 today.

“We’re thrilled to be able to add such a deep and talented media team to our agency,” said Tolensky in a release.

MW360 was launched in Halifax in 2001 by Margot Walsh (front row, third from right in main picture), and has established itself as a national presence with clients across eight provinces. Its client roster includes Cohen’s Home Furnishings, O’Regan’s Automotive Group, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, SOS Children’s Villages, Wedgwood Insurance and Irving Oil.

The two agencies have worked together on businesses including Tourism PEI, Efficiency Nova Scotia, Canadian Museum of Human Rights, Nova Scotia Community College, Shannex and Workers Compensation Board Nova Scotia over the past decade.

“We definitely have mutual respect for each other, and the culture at A+D really is the same kind of culture we’ve developed at MW360,” said Walsh. “[I was] looking for growth and opportunity for my team and our clients as we move forward, and it just felt like a perfect fit.”

MW360’s 14-person staff has moved into A+D’s Halifax office, and will be rebranded as Arrivals + Departures Media. A+D’s vice-president of client services, Jennifer Sutherland, who spent five years working in media prior to joining the agency a decade ago, will lead the integration.

“[The deal] was a no-brainer, to be honest,” said Martin Delaney, partner, president and chief strategist with A+D in Halifax. “We’ve already been working with MW360 as a natural add-on for some of our clients, so it just made perfect sense when Margot [approached us] about bringing it into the A+D group.

While several of A+D’s clients, particularly those serviced out of its Toronto office, already have media agencies, Delaney said he expects an integrated media offering will be a boon in new business acquisition. “It’s going to be a nice solution when we’re approaching clients,” he said. “For new clients there may be opportunities to offer them a one-stop shop.”

Walsh began her career just as agencies were beginning to unbundle the creative and media functions, but said that the emergence of an array of digital channels has provided the impetus for them to come back together. “Media needs to be at the table from the beginning,” she said.

MW360 marks the third major acquisition for A+D in the past five years, following Blammo Worldwide and BlueBand Digital, an acquisition that contributed to the rapid growth of its Toronto office.

Chris Powell